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Four simple hacks to help you prioritise your mental wellbeing in 2021

It's fair to say the world collectively breathed a sigh of relief as 2020 drew to a close and if you're anything like me, you've spent the festive season indulging in too many Christmas leftovers and maybe one too many gins in the sun, while potentially drowning the sorrows of the shemozzle of the year that 2020 was, or celebrating that it has finally ended. It is also likely that you have hopes and dreams that 2021 will be a better year...so now what?

Let’s get one thing straight though, the turning of the clock as it strikes midnight on December 31st and ticks over to a new year will not wipe clean our slate and everything that occurred in 2020, but it certainly will give us the mental and psychological permission slip, if you will, to take a breather and refresh. While I believe that often in our darkest times we learn our most radical and impactful lessons, and 2020 sure did have some lessons for us, hitting refresh can leave us feeling relief and instil us with a renewed sense of energy. 

However, whether you’re ready to take on board the lessons of 2020 or you are more of a ‘forget and move on’ type, all the ‘new year, new me’ insistence that occurs at this time of year can bring about a sense of anxiety. You can feel unnecessary pressure and stress of what I like to call the ‘should syndrome’.

You know – you should reinvent yourself or you should have an extensive list of resolutions, you should lose weight, you should stop drinking gin. You should do this, you should do that… 

As a life and wellness coach, I specialise in helping people slow down to find balance in life via igniting their personal power. Personal power that already exists within you – you don’t need fixing – you don’t need a ‘new you’. But to prepare yourself for a new year and the navigation of this crazy thing called life it is likely that showing yourself some compassion, by putting your mental well being first, will better equip you to do that. 

In 2021 my wish is to see the prioritisation of mental well being become as commonplace as what it is to get your hair done or hire a PT.     

Instead of all the fixing and ‘shoulds’, how about this – you consider tuning in to what you really need out of 2021 and how you can get there by making your mental wellbeing a priority.

These are my hacks on how to do this. The best news is they are quick and really easy to do.

1. Get mindful

'Mindfulness strengthens the good parts of your brain and calms the parts that stress you out'.

Mindfulness incorporates 3 components – getting present, focused attention and awareness, and acceptance of yourself and the situation.  

I help my clients invite mindfulness into their lives by providing a tool kit of easy to implement mindfulness techniques.  

Here is one way you can try - practise breath-work using this simple box breathing exercise:

All you need to do is: breathe in for a count of 4, hold your breath at the top for a count of 4, slowly release your breath for 4 counts and then hold again for 4.

Think of this as creating a box with your breath – just a couple of rounds can bring about present moment awareness, can slow you right down and bring about a sense of calm to any situation.

2. Put your phone away

It has been proven that our device usage is addictive, whether its emails, a news app or social media - over-stimulation, hyper-connectivity and constant comparison leads to rising stress levels which can have lasting impacts on your mental health. 

My top tip here - as you reach for your device, ask yourself this: 'will this scroll be helpful or harmful to me right now?'

Help yourself by stepping away from losing hours of your life to the consumption of other people’s agendas and opinions. Allow yourself the freedom of choosing how you want to spend your days and your precious time.

3Do something you love each day

Many studies have proven the endless benefits of playing – there is no doubt that the feel-good chemicals our brains release when we play are good for us. Some of these benefits include – stimulating creativity and our imagination as well as giving you more energy.

Find something simple that you love - maybe it’s a dip in the ocean, singing in the shower or reading and take 10 mins to do that thing each day. Too rarely do we make time to 'play' as adults, let 2021 be the year that you change this.

4. Nourish your body and mind

Healthy eating and nourishment can come in many ways and doesn’t need to be a schlep or a chore or involve food prep – believe it or not.

Rather than simply thinking of the contents of each meal – you can try to think about the ritual you create around that meal and how it can better benefit your mental wellbeing. Sound confusing? Let me explain - consider where you can you take time to enjoy the food that you’ve prepared without the interruption of your phone and its notifications or getting sucked into the consumption of and comparison vortex that a social media feed offers you.

Where can you gift yourself a loving guilt-free moment to sip your tea in silence while you sit on your deck as you soak in a glorious sunrise and reap the benefits of the leaves you just brewed?     

In 2021 I invite you to slow down just a little, just for a moment, so that you can make moments matter by being fully present and in tune with your own personal power.

Try one or all 4 of my hacks to prioritise your mental wellbeing and be the best most balanced, full and powerful version of yourself as you navigate 2021.

I’d love to hear which hack worked best for you so please comment below to let us know?

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